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Does Prejudice = Ignorance?

Last posted Jun 16, 2013 at 06:32AM EDT. Added Jun 12, 2013 at 08:07PM EDT
13 conversations with 7 participants

I wrote a post to my blog yesterday about homophobia, although it was more generally about the tendency people have to dismiss racism, sexism and homophobia as stupidity or ignorance. Here’s the tl;dr version:

[A]s much as people like to label him a “monster”, Hitler was a human being, just like you and me. Sometimes you hear people say of politicians these days that “He’s the sort of guy you could hang out and have a beer with!” I have no doubt that Hitler was a guy that you could hang out and have a beer with--so long as you weren’t a member of one of the groups that the Third Reich tried to exterminate. And what’s more, who could really think that Hitler was an idiot? He nearly took over the whole world, which doesn’t sound to me like the sort of thing that idiots tend to do. No, Hitler wasn’t ignorant; he had an oddly well-informed hatred.

So my question for the thread is, do you think dismissing intolerance and/or other ideas that you disagree with as ignorance is a poor way of dealing with them, and why or why not?

Jun 12, 2013 at 08:07PM EDT
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Prejudice = pre-judgement. It is when you allow previous ideas or experiences taint your view of an individual.

So no, it’s not exactly stupid. There can be smart prejudices, statistically speaking.
It’s generally more maliciousness than ignorance, that being said.

Jun 12, 2013 at 08:37PM EDT
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I dunno, I think Hitler actually could have been an idiot. And it could have been that his peers were just as dumb as he was

Albeit, he wasn’t a complete moron and was smart enough to give great speeches. But certainly too stupid to see the forest for the trees

Anyway. While its more common for stupid people to be prejudice, I believe MDF raised a good point that Prejudice itself is not a stupid thing and can be rooted in some sense: our instinctive will to perceive threats I suppose.

In other words stupidity and ignorance can make one resort to prejudice but prejudice does not make one stupid and ignorant…or at least, not always.

Perhaps the difference is made when prejudice meets understanding. When people continue to hold onto prejudices when facts show that there is no more need for it, that is when it becomes ignorant

Last edited Jun 12, 2013 at 10:22PM EDT
Jun 12, 2013 at 10:20PM EDT
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I would say 70% of the time prejudice is done by people who have never even lived outside of their own little world.
If that’s all you see, learn, and live around that is what you will project.

Most people (even those who are educated) can still be dim when it comes to race, history, and tolerance.
I know a very well educated guy that never knew that half the United States was once Mexico (hence the saying “we didn’t cross the border the border crossed us”).
He was never taught that in high school or Collage.
He wasn’t an idiot he just didn’t know and isn’t that the same as ignorance?

Ignorance breads hate and racism because that’s what people know

and remember kids…

Jun 12, 2013 at 11:11PM EDT
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Brucker wrote:

I wrote a post to my blog yesterday about homophobia, although it was more generally about the tendency people have to dismiss racism, sexism and homophobia as stupidity or ignorance. Here’s the tl;dr version:

[A]s much as people like to label him a “monster”, Hitler was a human being, just like you and me. Sometimes you hear people say of politicians these days that “He’s the sort of guy you could hang out and have a beer with!” I have no doubt that Hitler was a guy that you could hang out and have a beer with--so long as you weren’t a member of one of the groups that the Third Reich tried to exterminate. And what’s more, who could really think that Hitler was an idiot? He nearly took over the whole world, which doesn’t sound to me like the sort of thing that idiots tend to do. No, Hitler wasn’t ignorant; he had an oddly well-informed hatred.

So my question for the thread is, do you think dismissing intolerance and/or other ideas that you disagree with as ignorance is a poor way of dealing with them, and why or why not?

Not enough credit is given to Rommel.

Jun 13, 2013 at 01:03AM EDT

I don’t know, a lot of what you guys are saying here seems less about intolerant people being stupid than being crazy or just having a misunderstanding…which I guess is not so far off.

I had read the Cracked articles BSoD linked to previously, and I suppose a lot of what I’m saying about Hitler (as well as things others tend to say about him) is less about him as an individual than about the Nazis as a group. I’m not saying that Hitler was a genius, but that the collective intelligence of the leaders of the Third Reich was sufficient to get a hell of a lot done, and yet they still were the most infamously intolerant people in the world.

Which is another thing: intolerance as a trait of an organized group. I was saying to someone just the other day (in a conversation that was related to this topic) that pretty much every religion has some amount of intolerance, and for religions (including to some extent atheism), it’s a survival mechanism:

1) State that what you believe is the best thing to believe.
2) Kill or cast out anyone who disagrees.
3) ???
4) Prophet!

That doesn’t make it right, but there’s a twisted sort of logic to it that doesn’t make it wrong, either. (IMO)

Now regarding what Vazquez said, it reminds me of a story that’s related to one of the points I was trying to make with the blog post. I had a co-worker years back that one day was ranting to me after work about “…why the hell all these stupid Mexicans are here and don’t learn our language…” I informed him of the whole “the border crossed us” history of California, and sure enough he’d either never heard of it or never thought of it that way. He changed his attitude about Mexican-Americans that day.

Now while yes, he was ignorant, if I’d simply dismissed him as being ignorant (or he had dismissed me) instead of engaging him in a dialogue about the matter, he wouldn’t have changed for the better, would he?

Jun 13, 2013 at 01:22AM EDT
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I don’t see anything wrong with have prejudices based on facts.

Jun 13, 2013 at 01:43AM EDT

For the most part, yes, prejudice is a symptom if ignorance.
Case in point, Westboro Baptist Church.
But there are those who build prejudices over time, based on negative events or experiences that they endure.
Some people will come to develop a distrust or hate of people due to a previous encounter that left them with scars they are unable to see past.

The sad thing is that I won’t live long enough to see a prejudice and intolerance-free earth.
I will be dead long before world peace ever happens.

Jun 13, 2013 at 01:43AM EDT
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I am not a racist, I judge people by their fashion sense, i.e, I would not go into neighborhood with a lot of hoodies, gangsters, and gang-bangers,etc regardless of race. Would you go into a ghettos unprotected from people who have made less than wise decisions? I would not. I know some of them are good people, but I would expect a large portion to be trouble. I don’t have a way to reliably measure these things, and if I did, I would use the method. So, it is really about safety.

In my opinion, normal people judge other people by how well they dress in society, or what culture they affiliate themselves with. If a white man came up to me in baggy pants hanging below his knees, I would feel threatened, but if a black man approached me in a suit and tried to sell me a cleaning chemical for a company, I’d be at relative ease, even knowing he might be trying to manipulate me into buying his products.

To answer the question, with the rise of multiculturalism, yes it would be, because culture is more important than race.

Last edited Jun 13, 2013 at 01:45AM EDT
Jun 13, 2013 at 01:44AM EDT

@wn12345:
It depends on what you mean by “based on facts”. Here are some facts:
1. I was raised in a Jewish family.
2. Nazis tried to kill the Jews.
3. Nazism was started in Germany.
Should I not trust Germans? As it happens, I actually had an irrational fear of Germans for about the first 15 years of my life because of the above facts, but luckily I eventually recognized it was irrational and made a conscious decision to get over it.

@ENDO:
Call me a cynic, but I think even if you were immortal, you wouldn’t live long enough to see “a prejudice and intolerance-free earth.”

@Bat Pug:
You raise some interesting points, but consider a few things. Culture and race are not completely separable things. Even if you do judge people by fashion sense, it’s a very subjective and personal thing.

Earlier this week, I was hanging out at a Starbucks and the place started filling with people in really nice suits, ones that I wouldn’t be surprised to have cost over $1000. I felt more uncomfortable as more of them appeared than I would have if a similar number of people in “baggy pants hanging below [their] knees” had shown up. I know the type of person that you’re referring to by this style of clothing, and understand why it might make you uncomfortable, but for me--even though I’ve never dressed like that or hung out with people who do--that would be a preferable crowd.

Jun 13, 2013 at 02:33AM EDT
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Brucker wrote:

@wn12345:
It depends on what you mean by “based on facts”. Here are some facts:
1. I was raised in a Jewish family.
2. Nazis tried to kill the Jews.
3. Nazism was started in Germany.
Should I not trust Germans? As it happens, I actually had an irrational fear of Germans for about the first 15 years of my life because of the above facts, but luckily I eventually recognized it was irrational and made a conscious decision to get over it.

@ENDO:
Call me a cynic, but I think even if you were immortal, you wouldn’t live long enough to see “a prejudice and intolerance-free earth.”

@Bat Pug:
You raise some interesting points, but consider a few things. Culture and race are not completely separable things. Even if you do judge people by fashion sense, it’s a very subjective and personal thing.

Earlier this week, I was hanging out at a Starbucks and the place started filling with people in really nice suits, ones that I wouldn’t be surprised to have cost over $1000. I felt more uncomfortable as more of them appeared than I would have if a similar number of people in “baggy pants hanging below [their] knees” had shown up. I know the type of person that you’re referring to by this style of clothing, and understand why it might make you uncomfortable, but for me--even though I’ve never dressed like that or hung out with people who do--that would be a preferable crowd.

If it was a fact that neo-nazis hate jews(which is true) or “zionists” then I would hate neo-nazis. I suppose you could call than a prejudice.

Jun 13, 2013 at 02:54AM EDT

Props to the sad little faggot that just downvoted every single post in this thread.
Truly a significant contribution to the discussion.

Jun 13, 2013 at 01:37PM EDT
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So, a white male might be rejected from a college, despite being more qualified than a black person, simple because there are already so many white men in that college.

Last edited Jun 16, 2013 at 06:33AM EDT
Jun 16, 2013 at 06:32AM EDT
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